Sioux Falls, SD
For the first time since George McGovern entered hospice care, the former senator's family is breaking its silence.
Matt McGovern always shared a special bond with his "Grandpa George." They first appeared in public together on the cover of Life Magazine when Matt was just a baby in 1972.
"I'll miss everything," Matt said.
One week ago, he says his grandfather's health took a sudden turn for the worse.
"It was just like same old Grandpa George and then the next day is when he was transferred over to hospice and wasn't able to speak to us anymore," Matt said.
But Matt hopes people remember George McGovern for all of his contributions to solve world hunger. Matt says it all started with what his grandfather witnessed in Italy during World War II.
"People were hungry. There wasn't enough food and he got to see malnutrition first-hand and that became something he worked on his whole life, to feed hungry people," Matt said.
George McGovern went on to organize several federal and international food programs that are still active today, including the popular W.I.C. program that helps feed millions of low income families in the US.
"It stands for women, infant and children and that was one of the things he was most proud of. As he would say, 'what could be more important than women, infants and children?'" Matt said.
The School Lunch Program he started with Bob Dole feeds 22 million children each day.
Despite all of his political accomplishments, the former senator's compassion for people was the most important lesson he shared with his ten grandchildren.
"If you read the Bible, it's all about taking care of the sick and feeding the poor, clothing the naked and he wanted to do all that. I think that is rare today," Matt said.